When you type in “business near me” looking for products or services, do you pay attention to the reviews? Although individuals have their own parameters when they pick a service place, surveys show that if your business has less than a four-star average rating, people are more likely to pass you by.

We’ve been shouting it from the rooftops and we’re saying it again: clients decide whether to do business with you based on your reviews. Bad reviews, old reviews, and no reviews are going to cost you customers.

Since anyone can write them, no matter where reviews turn up, they can be considered the bane of a business owner’s existence. Anyone can write a review, and since a lot of people love griping on the internet, reviews can skew negative if they’re not monitored. As we all know, one bad review can ruin your reputation if it’s not properly dealt with.

You already know that reviews can be overwhelmingly positive, and they will be if you’re actively seeking them from your customers and doing a stellar job as always. But there are ways you can go above and beyond. Here’s the why and how behind seeking out as many positive reviews as you can.

Reviews are your PR

It goes without saying. You can still control the narrative around your business, but only to an extent. The internet has taken word of mouth and amplified it thanks to forums, social media, and reviews. Positive reviews also make clients want to do business with you. If a bunch of people had a great experience with your company, chances are, they will too.

But wait, you say, how extensive do your reviews need to be? Although most people think of reviews as things that go on Google. In fact, you may primarily look at reviews on Google because that’s the most-used search engine. Google may be one of the biggest search engines on the block, but it’s not the only place you should be positing reviews: don’t neglect local listings or social media when it comes to soliciting reviews there too.

How to solicit more reviews

First, ensure the basics of good SEO practice are taken care of. Ensure your citations are identical on each listing. Ensure your web pages are keyword rich and relevant to what your customers are looking for. These steps don’t seem like they’re related, but they’re the foundation of your reputation’s success. However, they’re not enough to climb to the first page of Google.

Reviews are more like the house that goes on top of this foundation or the tree trunk and branches growing from the roots. Once your foundation is in order, reviews take you from the ground into the stratosphere. And yes, many local citations allow for reviews to be posted on their websites, so garnering positive reviews for your local citations is another great strategy to boost your rankings.

Like other reviews you solicit, ask! But be specific. The reviews you receive, ideally, should be five-star ratings with detailed, positive descriptions of how your business has helped the reviewer. These descriptions can be about the quality of service you provide or how an employee went out of their way to go above and beyond for the reviewer. It could be about long-lasting service or a favorite dish.

Change up the ask

All of these possibilities open more doors to ask. Reach out to your client base who had a positive experience, for example. Ask them to post a review on your Google account. Next time you ask, reach out to people who had a friendly team member serve them.

You also don’t have to blast the ask on social media every time. Although that’s a great way to reach a lot of people, it could become repetitive and you could attract unwanted attention in the form of negative reviews. Instead, ask new subscribers to your email list or respondents to surveys who gave positive feedback to write a review for you. These customers are more invested in singing your praises anyway since they already took the time to respond positively.

If soliciting reviews is too daunting right now, we’re here to take it off your plate! Contact us today and see what we can do to bolster your online reputation.